• James Parry

Malaket furniture store stages marvelous marionette exhibit in Hawkesbury

PHOTO BY TARA FITZGERALD

Showcased in a magical exhibit at Montreal's premier cultural venue Place des Arts just a month ago, some 35 stupendous and larger-than-life characters from Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit and other shows are now welcoming visitors to a landmark furniture store in Hawkesbury. In fact, one of them is sleeping in a bed in the front window for all to see until the lights are turned off at midnight.

Intrigued? Then from now until the end of May, you will find them at Lucien Malaket and all are giant marionettes created by the critically acclaimed Montreal-based Théâtre Sans Fil. Translating as Theatre Without Strings, it was founded in 1971 as a puppet theatre for adults as much as children and has thrilled audiences and spectators here in Quebec and worldwide ever since.

Explained Nicolas Malaket in an exclusive interview with The Journal, “We are so pleased to be able to present this prestigious exhibit throughout the store for our clients and visitors alike. We will have our guests, some of them 9-feet high, on display until May 31 and everyone is welcome to come and see them during our opening hours.”

Added Malaket, who studied arts in Cegep St-Laurent in the late 80s early 90s as well as cabinet-making, “I would like to stress, however, that when I agreed to this exhibition, it was not to attract customers for sale purposes only but to show more culture to more people who don't usually have the chance to see art.”

So how did it all come about? Said Malaket, “In the past, I have been in contact with the Centre Culturel le Chenail here in Hawkesbury and once provided storage space for one of their pianos. When Lynda Clouette-MacKay, who has known the people at Théâtre Sans Fil for a long time, saw the exhibit at Place des Arts she was looking for a place to show them here but the centre was too small.

“Knowing that I have a very spacious showroom close by and that I'm always open to trying new things and have a base in the arts, she approached me about a month ago and I immediately said yes. In fact, we even removed some of our furniture displays to show all of them.”

Said Clouette-MacKay, Le Chenail's executive and artistic director, “We are so pleased that Nicolas readily agreed to mount this fabulous exhibition throughout his store. It is an integral part of our Festival des Petits Sourires/Festival of Small Smiles now in its fifth year and which will run at the Centre with free admission the weekend of May 11-13.”

Asked if he had a personal favourite of all the marionettes, Malaket had to think about it. “I am still wondering which one I prefer the most as they are all unique, but by the end of May, I will probably have one or two that I would like to keep here longer!”

Lucien Malaket Meubles/Furniture is located at 231 Main Street East, Hawkesbury, and opening hours are Monday to Friday 9 a.m. to 5.30 p.m. and Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The store is closed on Sundays for Family Day and for more info, call (613) 632-7202.

Centre Culturel Le Chenail Cultural Centre is located at 2 John Street and for further info call (613) 632-9555. See our Facebook page for more photos.

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